A march of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Les Thomas singing at March in March, Melbourne

The view from the back of the truck. March in March, Melbourne at Treasury Gardens. Photo by Andrew Watson — www.semiconductor-media.com

 

Three days on from March in March and I’m still buzzing from the experience. In the last 19 years I’ve probably been to more rallies than polite company would tolerate, but there are a number of things that make March in March significantly different and inspiring.

The first is that fact that it was organised by people with no previous experience, but they understood the need for action beyond the online world of Facebook and Twitter, and used both of those platforms to help being some 100,000 people out on to the streets in 30 protests around Australia.

Secondly, the mood was upbeat, determined and good-natured.  Given attacks on refugees, women, Indigenous people, the environment, workers, social services, education, science, ABC and SBS, the arts and technology, people have every right to be angry, but they brought their humour with them. The sight of so many people joining in this vote of no confidence, was undoubtedly inspiring. Abbott may be in denial about it, but in only six months he has managed united a massive number of people across a wide range of issues, all determined to see him and his likes out of office.

20140317-141329The corporate media have done a terrible job of reporting the events. They have been going out of their way to find the most offensive placards and trying to dismiss March in March as lacking focus, in much the same way they attacked Occupy. That’s to be expected. They have been acting as the propaganda arm of the LNP for a very long time. That leaves it up to us to spread the real news. “Don’t hate the media, become the media” as Jello Biafra said.

The success of the Biennale Boycott the week before opened up other powerful options that can inform a whole range of future actions as well. Hopefully the links between groups and campaigns will get ever stronger, because we’re going to need all the unity and strength we can muster. Both major parties are failing us, so it’s up to ordinary people like us to keep building the momentum. The campaign against the Vietnam War started in Australia began with just a hand full of people. March in March is already much more sizable and vibrant.

Nothing can be taken for granted, but the earliness of our mass response is encouraging. We have a great deal to lose if we don’t keep on pushing together in the largest possible numbers, so thanks and well done to all who have got the People Power ball rolling.

I had no idea that I would play a song at the rally until my friend Celine Yap aka Little Foot asked me near the end, so it was a great honour to finish with her and Dallas Frasca singing this wonderful song about overcoming great obstacles with patience, determination and solidarity.

PS I’m told there are some people who think “From Little Things Big Things Grow” is a song about superannuation. This is why history should be a compulsory subject.